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Chicago Is A Condominium City, But Don’t Under Estimate Suburbs

Everyone views Chicago as the dominant condominium city in Illinois, but don’t short change the seven suburban collar counties, a comprehensive new annual report reveals.

The city of Chicago currently has an estimated 11,336 condo and homeowner associations containing 221,580 housing units.

However, a whopping 40,904 of Illinois’ 54,000 condominium and homeowner associations (HOAs) containing 348,159 residential units are located outside the Windy City in Chicago-area suburbs, according to a new comprehensive directory—the “2017 Association Evaluation Report on Illinois Condominiums and Homeowner Associations” (HOAs).

Launched in 2012, the Association Evaluation has more than 54,000 Illinois condo associations and HOAs in its database.

Association Evaluation’s research revealed that 677 condo associations in Chicago have more than 100 units. It found 24 newly formed Windy City condominium associations in 2016. The projects contain 17 to 406 residential units in buildings that are currently in the development pipeline or recently sold out.

“High-rise condos may create much of Chicago’s world-class downtown and North Lake Shore Drive skyline, but only about 7 percent of the residential units are found in these properties,” observed Sara Benson, president of Association Evaluation, LLC, a Chicago-based real estate data-analysis firm.

An estimated 40 Windy City high-rise condos—including the iconic 758-unit Lake Point Tower and the landmark 703-unit John Hancock Building—contain more than 500 units, and about 6 percent of condos are housed in buildings with 100 to 499 units.

“Most high-rises, and the highest concentration of luxury buildings are located in eight community areas along Lake Michigan—the Loop, New East Side, River North, the Gold Coast, Near North Side, Lincoln Park, Old Town and Lake View,” said Benson, who also is a veteran Gold Coast Realtor and president of Benson Stanley Realty, based at 980 N. Michigan Ave.

Other popular condominium neighborhoods include: West Town, Near West Side, South Loop, Edgewater, Uptown, Rogers Park, West Ridge and Near South Side. In 2016, some 17,345 condominium and townhome units were sold and closed in Chicago, compared with only 11,144 detached single-family homes, Benson said.

Association Evaluation noted that “HOAs are rampant in the Chicago’s suburbs” where gated townhome and condo communities abound. The directory notes that the sprawling Sun City community, built by Del Webb in far northwest suburban Huntley, encompasses 5,400 units.

The research also revealed that Illinois’ condo and HOA associations contain nearly 760,000 residential units.

The data was gathered by Association Evaluation from physical reviews and Google rooftop checks of thousands of condo and HOA properties, combined with an analysis of the Secretary of State records.

“For the 2nd annual Association Evaluation Report, our team of research experts scoured hundreds of sources to pinpoint and profile every condo and homeowner association throughout Illinois—both large and small,” said Sara Benson, president of Association Evaluation, LLC, a Chicago-based real estate data-analysis firm.

“Our research team exhausted all available resources to obtain this information,” said Michael J. Reilly, chief operations officer of Association Evaluation. “Various quality-control checks were administered to ensure the accuracy of the data. In some cases, on-site physical reviews of the premises were conducted.”

Here is Association Evaluation’s breakdown for condo and HOAs in the seven Chicago-area counties and the city of Chicago:

• Cook County—including the city of Chicago—has a total of 21,923 condos and HOAs containing 338,592 residential units. Some 18,753 of the associations—70% of the condos and HOAs—have less than 20 units, while 3,170 have more than 20.

• DuPage County has a total of 7,384 condos and HOAs containing 88,754 housing units. Some 6,550 of the associations contain less than 20 units, while 834 have more than 20.

• Kane County has a total of 7,228 condo and HOAs containing 45,914 residential units. Some 7,101 of the associations have less than 20 units, while only 127 have more than 20.

• Lake County has a total of 6,578 condo and HOAs containing 50,638 housing units. Some 6,274 of the associations have less than 20 units, while 304 have more than 20.

• Will County has a total of 4,817 condo and HOAs containing 23,724 residential units. Some 4,781 of the associations have less than 20 units, while only 36 have more than 20.

• McHenry County has a total of 3,133 condo and HOAs containing 16,222 housing units. Only 30 of the associations have more than 20 units.

• Kendall County has a total of 1,166 condo and HOAs containing 5,895 residential units. Only 11 of the associations have more than 20 units.

The Community Associations Institute (CAI), a respected national organization, listed a total of 18,500 condominium and HOAs in Illinois in 2015, placing the state in fourth place nationwide.

“Our research team was surprised to learn that thousands of Illinois condominium and homeowner associations were uncounted BY CAI,” Benson said.

“Apparently, thousands of smaller condo associations and HOAs are not registered with the state of Illinois simply because they are self-managed by volunteer owners,” said Benson, who estimated that up to 80 percent of existing units are self-managed or controlled by developers.

“With 54,000 individual records, Association Evaluation has compiled the most comprehensive database of condo associations and HOAs available in Illinois,” Benson noted.

Association Evaluation is marketing its condominium and HOA data to condo service providers such as attorneys, property management companies, landscapers, and remodeling and repair tradesmen—including roofers, plumbers and contractors.

Prices for the currently available new 2017 Chicago and Illinois lists—that can be sorted by zip code, city, year of construction, property management company, and number of units in the association—start at $2,500.

The data file is sent electronically via email. Clients have a choice of either a .csv or .txt file. For more information, call: 844-727-7267 ext. 801, or email: Visit the website:

For more housing news, visit Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit

“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”


Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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